Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Melanie Benjamin  

Pen Name: Melanie Hauser

Genre: Fiction

Born: in Indianapolis, Indiana


-- Website -- http://www.melaniebenjamin.com/
-- Email -- melanie@melaniebenjamin.com
-- Melanie Benjamin on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=melanie++benjamin
-- Melanie Benjamin at Facebook -- http://www.facebook.com/search/?post_form_id=73db3c3f2400f4b8367a41760269ff57&q=Jim+Benes+&init=quick&ref=search_loaded#!/profile.php?id=100000151786433&ref=search=melanie+benjamin


Illinois Connection

Benjamin lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life—as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library—she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.While attending Indiana University—Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction. As Melanie Hauser, she published two contemporary novels.By incorporating her passion for history and biography, Melanie, now writing as Melanie Benjamin, has finally found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." ALICE I HAVE BEEN is her first historical novel; THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB is her second, published in July 2011. She recently signed a contract with Random House for two more historical novels, the first of which will be published in 2012. She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs—And reading, of course.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Confessions of Super Mom
ISBN: 0451218566

Berkley. 2006

According to my thirteen-year-old son, every superhero has an origin. My origin is a little embarrassing. I wasn’t put into a rocket and sent to Earth by my parents. I wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider. No, I was merely the innocent victim of a Horrible Swiffer Accident.…

Strange things are happening to divorced mother of two Birdie Lee since the Horrible Swiffer Accident. She can sense danger (for example, a carload of speeding teenagers not wearing their seat belts) and spring into action with superhuman speed. She can find out what her daughter is up to on the Internet without even having to snoop. And she’s got cleaning powers ordinary women can only dream of.…

Warm, witty, and full of heart, Confessions of Super Mom is the tale of a woman who dares to take a stand against everything from stubborn stains to smug exs to corporate CEOs—and winds up defeating evil in some very unexpected ways.

Super Mom Saves the World
ISBN: 0451220366

NAL Trade. 2007

Transformed into a super hero by a bizarre cleaning accident, middle-aged single mother Birdie Lee is busy raising funds for a brand-new stadium and planning a wedding to the man of her dreams when she is confronted by an unknown enemy who wants her out of the picture for good. By the author of Confessions of Super Mom. Original. 35,000 first printing.

Alice I Have Been: A Novel
ISBN: 0385344139

Delacorte Press. 2010

Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.


But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?

Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.

For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb: A Novel
ISBN: 0385344155

Delacorte Press. 2011

In her national bestseller Alice I Have Been, Melanie Benjamin imagined the life of the woman who inspired Alice in Wonderland. Now, in this jubilant new novel, Benjamin shines a dazzling spotlight on another fascinating female figure whose story has never fully been told: a woman who became a nineteenth century icon and inspiration—and whose most daunting limitation became her greatest strength.

“Never would I allow my size to define me. Instead, I would define it.”

She was only two-foot eight-inches tall, but her legend reaches out to us more than a century later. As a child, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump was encouraged to live a life hidden away from the public. Instead, she reached out to the immortal impresario P. T. Barnum, married the tiny superstar General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the century, and transformed into the world’s most unexpected celebrity.

Here, in Vinnie’s singular and spirited voice, is her amazing adventure—from a showboat “freak” revue where she endured jeering mobs to her fateful meeting with the two men who would change her life: P. T. Barnum and Charles Stratton, AKA Tom Thumb. Their wedding would captivate the nation, preempt coverage of the Civil War, and usher them into the White House and the company of presidents and queens. But Vinnie’s fame would also endanger the person she prized most: her similarly-sized sister, Minnie, a gentle soul unable to escape the glare of Vinnie’s spotlight.

A barnstorming novel of the Gilded Age, and of a woman’s public triumphs and personal tragedies, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is the irresistible epic of a heroine who conquered the country with a heart as big as her dreams—and whose story will surely win over yours.


Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

contact Literary Agent Laura Langlie at laura@lauralanglie.com Publicist Sharon Propson at spropson@randomhouse.com